from the later Schleiermacher of The Christian faith (1821-2, 1830-1), his dogmatic great work. His name means literally the 'veil maker'; and indeed Schleiermacher is a complex and contradictory figure. On the one hand he criticises both rationalism and supernaturalism, and develops an intriguing theory of religion that combines elements from Spinoza's speculative pantheism and F. H. Jacobi's philosophy of faith. For Schleiermacher Godbecomes interchangeable with the universe. Yet rather than postulate any rational cognition of this totality he presents the proper mode of apprehension as a 'feeling' - 'die Anschauung und Gefuhl' - and disposes of the theistic idea of God and personal immortality. This is the aspect of Schleiermacher which is developing the radical ideas of the Enlightenment, especially Spinoza.
Schleiermacher represents a reaction to the Enlightenment in so far as he asserted the autonomy of the Christian religion over against both metaphysics and ethics. Religion is precisely the intuition and feeling of the universe rather than cognition (i.e. metaphysics) or action (i.e. ethics). The Enlightenment philosophers (e.g. Locke) assumed that reason can and should criticise revelation. But for Schleiermacher reason is a species of revelation. The entire universe for Schleiermacher is the self-revelation of God. Reason, within this Romantic/neo-Spinozistic context, is dependent upon revelation. Furthermore, religion is not to be understood as the awareness of duty as a divine command, i.e. as the consciousness of the binding and sacral nature of the moral law. On the contrary, religion is defined not as 'autonomy' but as 'dependence'. Whereas religion is essentially active for Kant, it is basically passive for Schleiermacher.
Schleiermacher was at the centre ofthe early phase of German Romanticism and one could argue that his early avowal of the autonomy of the Christian religion itself and its irreducibility to some other domain is reinforced by his later definition of theology in The Christian faith as the descriptive explication of Christian piety in the self-conscious historical community. Such a view of theology is designed to ward off the Enlightenment or any Hegelian attempt to define Christianity from without. This means that Christianity has no need to try to justify itself according to secular lights. Schleiermacher might well be seen as a forerunner of Karl Barth in his emphasis upon the autonomy of Christianity.
The theocratic and apocalyptic vision of Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) was very important for the Romantic revolt against the claims of the Enlightenment.5 His view of the autonomy of Christianity is marked by the experience
5 Lebrun, Joseph de Maistre.
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